I used to walk a LOT. Like every day I would get up at 6 and take a 2-3 mile walk around my neighborhood. While I was off work 11 years ago I would drive to a local trail and walk 3-4 miles. I love being outdoors, and love walking. I walked 4-6 times a week, even in the rain with a big rain poncho on.
When I injured my back in 2014 I had to stop those walks. Actually most walks. I started going to the gym to get exercise, but nothing feels like walking outdoors. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until this year, when I started walking again. In January I posted about walking half a mile, and it was an amazing victory for me. When I decided I wanted a dog I pushed myself to be able to walk to the park and back, about half a mile, and now I have my precious Esther and I do that most days. Rio and I walk together when we can – what a joy to share the outdoor while we walk and chat and train Esther together.
Yesterday our shared walk was 0.9 miles. When I woke up this morning I felt good, and decided that instead of my quick walk with Esther to the park, I would plan a longer walk in the neighborhood. Here’s what I did:
This is the longest walk I’ve done in 8 years. And I feel great!
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about losing weight, like would I recommend it to others? As a Fat Activist, I would NEVER consider that. But as I see the other side, has my thinking changed?
I absolutely believe in dignity for everyone at every size. I also absolutely believe you can be healthy and active at any size. Nobody should feel they need to change their weight just because of being big, or really big. There’s nothing wrong with managing medical issues that might arise because you are bigger.
I would never give unsolicited advice to someone to lose weight because that’s their business. But if you are large and asked my opinion about losing weight, here it is:
In my humble opinion, these are the only reasons to try to lose weight:
You have health problems that are likely stemming from your size, and they are not manageable with medications or other means. For instance, my diabetes has caused some damage to my kidneys. It’s not terrible, and I can manage it, but losing weight has improved my diabetes, which in turn will protect my kidneys from getting worse.
You can’t move in ways you want to move.
You have pain in your body, like your back or your joints that is likely caused on exacerbated by your size and isn’t isn’t correctable by surgery. When I had pain in my knees, knee replacement took care of that. However, my back injury caused me severe pain every single day and there was really no operation that was likely to fix it. I was on 800mg of Ibuprofen several times a day, and that sort of kept it at bay, but not really.
You have serious enough mental health issues stemming from the constant abuse you face as a fat person that you just can’t deal anymore.
For anyone who thinks they want to lose weight, first start with these things:
Start with just eating healthier. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables (at every meal), more fish and chicken than fattier meats. Don’t “diet” – but consider changing how you eat with a goal for it being a LIFELONG change, not just until you lose 50 pounds.
Work on your mental health (likely with a professional) around food: decouple it from comfort, celebration, boredom.
Practice radical self-care:
Wear clothes you look good in that fit you well and are comfortable
Bathe enough to feel clean
Get massages and manicures if those are your things
Keep up with regular medical care (with a doctor who won’t fat-shame you) like mammograms, colonoscopies, PAP smears, yearly physicals, etc.
Find doctors to address any medical issues who will listen to you and treat you and not blame everything on your fat.
In other words, VALUE yourself, and see how that works for you, before you decide you need to lose weight.
If you do these things and decide you need to do more, TALK to me.
Saw the doctor today. My blood test numbers are so good that she removed one of my two blood pressure medicines, and cut my cholesterol medicine in half. I haven’t taken a metformin (diabetes) pill since December, and I only use my long acting insulin about once a week now. Amazing!
I’ve recently been able to walk even more. I love walking with the dog! She wants to go for lots of walks, so that encourages me. We have a couple of recent routes in the neighborhood, one of which is about 3/4 of a mile and one is about 2/3 of a mile. Not marathons, but a miracle compared to what I used to be able to do.